Matthew 19:3. The Pharisees also Who always had a watchful eye on his motions, and attended him with the most malignant designs, being now more especially irritated by the fame of his late miracles, which they had in vain endeavoured to suppress; came unto him, tempting him With what they thought a very artful and insnaring question; and That they might, if possible, find some reason to accuse him, or to discredit him, at least, among the people; they asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? That is, for any thing which he dislikes in her. “The school of Hillel taught, that a man might put away his wife for any cause. The son of Sirach saith, ‘If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, give her a bill of divorce, and let her go.’ Sir 25:26 . Josephus saith, The law runs thus: ‘He that would be disjoined from his wife, for any cause whatsoever, let him give her a bill of divorce.’ And he confesseth, that he himself put away his wife, after she had borne him three children, ‘because he was not pleased with her behaviour.’ But the school of Shammah determined, on the contrary that the wife was only to be put away for adultery.” Whitby. (Christ, it must be observed, “had delivered his sentiments on this subject twice; once in Galilee, Matthew 5:31; and again in Perea, Luke 16:18. It is probable, therefore, that they knew his opinion, and solicited him to declare it, hoping it would incense the people, who reckoned the liberty which the law gave them of divorcing their wives, one of their chief privileges. Or if, standing in awe of the people, he should deliver a doctrine different from what he had taught on former occasions, they thought it would be a fit ground for accusing him of dissimulation. But they missed their aim entirely; for Jesus, always consistent with himself, boldly declared the third time against arbitrary divorces, not fearing the popular resentment in the least.” Macknight.
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